A Tribute to the Stars!
In Memory of Charles Pierce:
The World's Foremost
"I'd like people who see my work to remember me as an actor --a good actor--who made his living by doing some really good impressions. The fact that I went from rags to bitches was just one of those quirks of fate written in the stars." --Charles Pierce
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Charles Pierce passed away on May 31, 1999, after a lengthy illness. Charles touched all of our lives in so many ways and brought much joy to his family, friends and thousands of fans.
A memorial service for Charles was held on June 19, 1999 at Church of the Hills, Forest Lawn,
Peter Mintun also wrote a tribute to Charles for the Museum of the City of San Francisco web site which may be seen at:
Your comments and suggestions about the web site are welcome. If you wish to share your comments on Charles's life and career on the special page of tributes and remembrances, please contact me at the e-mail address below.
Do you have photos of Charles, programs or other memorabilia you would like to share with visitors to the Charles Pierce Web site? Scans would be most appreciated. Please contact me if you would like to see them on this web site.
This site will continue to be maintained as a memorial to the life and career of Charles Pierce.
Kevin Bochynski, a friend of Charles
Charles Pierce Video Clips Available at www.youtube.com
The enormously talented Ned Sparks has posted several high-quality video clips from Charles's performances as well as interviews
Now Available on DVD!
Charles Pierce, "master and mistress of disguise," impressionist and comedian, has entertained audiences in night clubs and theaters since 1954. Between engagements he has "guest starred" on many television shows: "Fame," "Laverne and Shirley," "Starsky and Hutch," "Wonder Woman," "Love American Style," "Chico and the Man," "Merv Griffin," "Mike Douglas," and "The Dick Cavett Show." He has appeared in San Francisco on the popular "Front Row Video" and "AM San Francisco" shows. A televised Concert from the Dorothy Chandler Music Center in Los Angeles, "Ladies of the Silver Screen," has been seen on both the Playboy and Select TV channels. An album, "Charles Pierce at Bimbo's" (Blue Thumb) recorded in 1971, is a much sought after collectors' item to this day.
Liz Smith, in her New York Daily News column, has quoted Charles' comedy lines time and time again. When he plays Freddy's, in New York City, she describes his act as "The best night club act in New York City". Clive Barnes in the New York Times said: "Fantastically funny, a clever and witty impersonator". The Los Angeles Herald Examiner commented that while "Charles Pierce is probably not the funniest man alive," their reviewer can't think of anyone else who fits that description. Major engagements have included performances from Hawaii to London. In New York, he has played Freddy's seven times, The Village Gate three. In San Francisco, he has appeared at the York Hotel's Plush Room six times, Bimbo's twice, Ann's 440, Purple Onion and Gilded Cage where he held forth during the '60s for six years. In London, he did his one-man show at the Fortune Theatre for nine weeks and later appeared at Country Cousin Cabaret for two engagements. In Los Angeles, he has had ten appearances at the Backlot of Studio One (West Hollywood), two concerts at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, plus shows at the Magnolia Theater Cabaret. His performances have taken him to Washington D.C., Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Palm Springs, Pittsburgh, Miami, Miami Beach, and Vancouver, Canada, to do his shows. His was the last show to play the famous Ciro's on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, and a favorite engagement was when he opened for Ann-Margret at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, in 1978.
Stars come to his shows to relax and be entertained. Throughout the years he has played to Ingrid Bergman, Claudette Colbert, Ethel Merman, the entire cast of "42nd St.," Carol Channing, Peter O'Toole, Angela Lansbury, Diana Rigg, Kaye Ballard, Maureen Stapleton, Treat Williams, Leonard Frey, Paul Lynde, Dom DeLuise, John Gielgud, Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, Rock Hudson, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Peter Allen, The Golden Girls (Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan), Charles Nelson Reilly, Liberace, Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter, Rip Taylor, Hayden Rorke, Rudolph Nureyev and, yes! Vladimir Horowitz, who came to hear Charles as Bette Davis play "her" version of "Tea for Two" on the keyboard.
Charles Pierce was born in Watertown, New York, was educated there and during his last two years in high school worked part time at the local radio station, WWNY as an announcer. After graduating from Watertown High School he worked full time until he packed up and took the Super Chief to California to attend the Pasadena Playhouse. Upon graduating from this drama school he worked summers in Newport, Rhode Island, at the Casino Theater as actor and stage manager. In New York City he was seen in several off-Broadway productions. In the early '50s he returned to the Pasadena Playhouse as an actor. During this period he was impressed with several night club acts in Los Angeles and decided to do an act himself. After appearing as a Sunday afternoon guest at Club La Vie, in Altadena, California, the crowd's response was so great that the owners made their own decision about Charles' career. They knocked out walls, put in a stage, grand piano, lights and hired him to "do the show"! He performed there many months, then moved onto engagements in Florida and San Francisco. The rest is not exactly history but it does fill the pages of a small book.
His last show was at the Pasadena Playhouse Balcony Theater where he had actually begun in 1952 with a book reading one-man show. He said, "Now I have come full circle and it is time to hang up the dresses, take off the wigs and be myself for awhile. I will not retire. I have just abdicated."
The Charles Pierce Papers are now part of the Billy Rose Theater Collection
at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in New York.
Click here to visit the Charles Pierce Papers.
Listen to Charles Pierce's Welcome Message (449K WAV file)
A Brief Biography of Charles Pierce
Highlights of Charles Pierce's Fabulous Career!
Liner Notes and Photos from Charles Pierce's album,
"For Pierce'd Ears"
Charles Pierce's Television Guest Appearances
Charles Pierce's Nightclub, Cabaret and Theater Engagements
Hear Dick Cavett's Introduction of Charles Pierce (241K WAV file)
Hear Excerpts from Peter Mintun's Interviews with Charles
(Requires Real Audio G2 Player)
Transcript of a 1989 Interview with Charles
Visit the Charles Pierce Photo Gallery
This Web Site Created Exclusively for Charles Pierce by Kevin Bochynski
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